Overcoming | A Poem

I tell myself to breathe

As I wipe palms on jeans

I force a smile to my face

Tell myself it’ll be okay

Standing on two feet

Let my legs carry me

I swallow, stride faster

Down carpeted stairs

Up the black stage

The curtain parts

Before the show begins

I open my mouth

Project my voice out loud

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My Writing Routine 2017

I’ve always enjoyed reading about the routines of other writers. So I figured I’d answer questions about mine.

When do you write?

It depends. When I have class, I write prose or poetry in the morning. I’m the afternoon, I’ll draft a blog post on the way back. If I don’t have to commute, I procrastinate all day and create at night.

Where do you write?

Where do I not write is the better question. A bus. The train. In my room. At my desk. Wherever I can.

How often do you write?

Every day. Somehow. I don’t sleep much. I also have no social life and a non-existent love life.

What do you use to write or type?

A pen. Google Drive. I prefer them over a pencil and Microsoft Word.

Is there anything you do before writing?

I wash my hands because germs. Is that weird? I’m weird.

Is there anything you do while writing?

Not really, especially if I’m writing by hand. When typing, I tend to have a glass of water nearby. Very rarely do I eat something. On the rare occasion I do, it’s probably a fruit I can eat with a fork. Germs again.

Is there anything you do after writing?

I close my notebook and retract my pen or I’ll shut down my computer. More often than not, I check my phone for anything I missed. But I don’t have many friends, so there’s nothing to miss.

At the start of each writing session, do you read over what you wrote?

If I’m writing short stories or poems, generally no. If I’m working on a novel, sometimes. Depends on whether I need to refresh my memory or not. I’m not getting any younger.

Do you finish writing on a half complete sentence or idea?

I crave closure, so I’ve never stopped writing in the middle of anything. This goes for just about everything I can control, which isn’t much.

Do you write in short bursts or long periods?

I prefer getting all my writing done in one go. Unless I’m struggling. Let’s just say I take more breaks when writing an academic essay than I do with a short story.

Is there anything you’d like to change about your writing routine?

I’m quite pleased with it right now. I don’t have a problem, and so long as my routine continues to serveme, I’m not going to fix what isn’t broken.

Do you think your writing routine will be different next year?

I’m not sure. I guess that depends on my grand lifestyle in 2018. I’ll stay the course, adjust if and when necessary.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Feel free to answer the above questions on your own blog.

Welcome | A Poem

Welcome to my home

It’s not my own

Welcome to my room

Where every night I fight

Lock demons inside

Welcome to my world

I walk around invisible

Unseen because I blend in

Make myself follow

Welcome to my head

The thoughts are mine

But the voices aren’t

I can think for myself

Despite what they tell me

Welcome to my heart

It’s been shattered once

Which is more than enough

I’ll never put the parts back

Because I still remember

The day that destroyed my life

My Problem With Peer And Self Review

Let me start by saying I love one and hate the other. Care to hazard a guess?

In high school, I hated peer review sessions. Who doesn’t jump with joy at exchanging work with classmates and giving feedback for improvement?

I didn’t get a lot of helpful or useful comments from others. People tossed my essay back and told me it was perfect. I fumed inside because I knew my first draft was not even close to perfection. Imagine a world where first drafts were great.

I almost always came out of peer review workshops feeling a bit frustrated. OK, a lot.

Even though I tried my best to give constructive criticism, some people didn’t reciprocate. I don’t blame them. More than any other institution, I feel like in high school people are at a completely different level on their journey. Don’t get me started with teenage maturity.

To be fair, editing is hard. Giving feedback isn’t a walk in the park. But I guess what bothered me the most was the people who didn’t take it seriously. I can picture fourteen year old me making comments and suggestions while everyone else around me talked about whatever high schoolers talk about. I grew up fast.

Obviously, the more I edit other people’s work, the better I am at reviewing my own work. That said, I can’t look at my writing the same way someone else can. Still, I should charge a premium anytime someone asks me for feedback.

I’ve never given much thought as to what I think about when editing my own work.

I care about consistency and clarity whenever I’m critiquing. I also love brevity as much as the best blog reader. Wordiness will likely be the death of me.

Ever since I’ve learned about parallel structure, I’m careful around lists. This ties in with consistency to an extent. If you have two verbs in your list, I don’t want to see a noun phrase at the end of it. That’s guaranteed to drive me crazy.

Shout out to all the writers who have amazing flow. I aspire to write like you. Because I never outline, my first drafts are a hot mess.

Surprise, I’m such a stickler for grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Sometimes the small details make the biggest difference. But I like rule breakers within reason. I’m one myself. Tough to get around not doing things by the book in academia though.

My Paradise | A Poem

I’m not at peace

I don’t feel at home

I’ll never belong

But I should

So I question

Why I believe

What they say

That I need to know

My place in this world

I want to scream

Ignore the noise

Silent voices

Loud but soft

All the same

Within these walls

I count imaginary stars

When I fall asleep

I dream of my paradise

Trying To Multi-Task

Sometimes we think it’s a good idea to multi-task, but then reality happens. And instead of being insanely productive, we don’t do things as effectively or efficiently as we’d like.

I say this as I’m multi-tasking.

I know how difficult it is to focus on one task for an extended period of time. But I think now, more than ever before, human beings need to focus, to concentrate. Easier said than done. But we aren’t doing ourselves any favours by trying to multi-task everything in life.

I realize there’s a lot going on at any given time. We have many responsibilities and obligations, interests and hobbies. Still, I see the value in focusing on one thing at a time whenever possible.

Having our attention divided, specifically when we’re doing work that requires it doesn’t do wonders for anyone.

We don’t retain as much information when we’re listening to a professor lecture while also messaging friends in addition to shopping online. We don’t write as well if we’re watching TV and talking to a friend at the same time.

I’m not perfect. But I’ve gotten better at giving important tasks my undivided attention because I can’t always afford to spilt my attention. Everything suffers when I do.

I’ve also found that each time I resist giving into temptations while in class or in the middle of a task, I reinforce the habit.

Sometimes I just can’t let distractions deter me.

I used to be better at reading for a longer period of time without wanting to checking my phone. Nowadays, I rarely sit down for a couple of hours with a book and read uninterrupted.

I know my attention span isn’t quite like it used to be, which is a tragedy. But at least I’m aware of my flaws, some of them anyway.

I want to recognize when I shouldn’t divide my attention, when I shouldn’t multi-task. I need to resist temptations more often, especially when I’m doing work that requires critical thinking.

Of course, I’d love to hear your thoughts like whether or not you think I’m insane.

End Game By David Baldacci | A Book Review

Title: End Game

Author: David Baldacci

Genre: Thriller

About the book: The fourth novel in the Will Robie series. I received a copy from Hachette.

First impressions: I’ve read plenty of Baldacci in the past, so I went in with high expectations. The beginning got me even more excited. He throws readers into the action. Somehow the book got better as it went on.

Summary: Will Robie and Jessica Reel have to find their handler who went missing in Colorado.

Characters: I almost forgot how much I like both Robie and Reel, the two central characters. They’re so good at their jobs but, in some regards, so bad to each other. I enjoyed seeing the progression of their relationship as well. In my opinion, Baldacci creates memorable characters. He develops them. I’m all for his antagonists having realistic motivations. There’s just enough backstory to understand what makes each hero or villain tick.

Quote:

“And if someone can’t act on love, then what does anything else really matter?”

Conflict: The small town has big problems. The protagonists are put into dangerous situations time and time again from beginning to end.

Writing: The pacing is near perfect, especially during the climax of the story. I couldn’t wait to see how the novel would play out. I had a hard time accurately predicting what would happen next, so I was surprised by many of the plot twists. Even after I spoiled a chapter for myself, I still found myself in suspense.

Final thoughts: I whizzed through the last several chapters because I needed answers to all my questions. A part of me didn’t want to finish the book because of how good it was. While a lot of sad things happen, the story ends on a happy note. I’ll say no more lest I spoil it for you.

I highly recommend this novel. If you’re searching for an entertaining read, you almost can’t go wrong with Baldacci. Fair warning: his books aren’t easy to put down.

Even though I’ve read a lot of his stories, I think End Game is up there as one of my favourites by him. So I hope someday you get to enjoy it as much as I did. Happy reading!


If you haven’t already, feel free to add me as a friend on Goodreads to keep up with what I’m reading when I remember to update my status.

This post contains affiliate links to Book Depository. If you make a purchase using them, I earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks!

Writing Advice & Editing Advice

Writing Advice

Start writing.

Pick up your pen and put it to paper. Form letters into words. String words into sentences. Turn sentences into paragraphs.

Don’t stop. Keep going.

First drafts aren’t perfect. They never will be. Stop trying to make them perfect. Focus on getting your idea(s) down somewhere. Write first, edit later.

Try to separate writing from editing. They’re two different processes.

Learn how to silence your inner critic. Listen when necessary.

Be present. Take life one word at a time, one day at a time.

Break big projects into smaller tasks. Make deadlines. Meet them.

Focus on the process of creating. Have fun and enjoy yourself.

Find your inner voice. Nurture it.

Give yourself enough time to write as much as you can, whenever you can.

Remember you’re closer to your goals than you know. Don’t give up now or ever.

When you want to stop, push yourself to write a little more. Make this a habit. Challenge what you know you can do to see what you’re really capable of.

Balance writing with everything as best as you can. Take small and big breaks.

Write for yourself and no one else.

Editing Advice

Put some space between writing the first draft and editing it. Give yourself time to edit.

Change the font or colour of the text.

Print out your work when possible. Then read your writing aloud.

Be honest with yourself. Learn what you’re good at. Learn what you aren’t so good at. Know your strengths and weaknesses. Play up the former; play down the latter.

Critique your own writing as a reader would.

Make many revisions. Make even more.

Even if you love a certain phrase or scene, don’t forget to delete what you don’t need. Your story is better off without redundancies.

Edit slowly. Go at your own pace. Apply corrections. Learn from them. Attempt not to make the same mistakes again. Focus on a different aspect of writing with each round of editing.

Fact check. Double check. Make sure you’re correct.

Be better than your excuses. It’s better to edit too much than not edit at all.

A first draft shouldn’t be your final one.

Planting Seeds | A Poem

It’s not the same anymore.

Why is this harder than before?

Can they tell I’ve lost my love?

Does it even matter?

I’ll never be as good as them.

Yet I haven’t given up,

But I might as well have.

I don’t know if I have much longer.

Let me turn this around.

What do I have to do…

To fall in love again?

How can I get going?

I want to move on.

I’m sick of the repetition,

Feeling the same every time.

What am I doing differently?

What do I need to change?

Is this a sign,

That I’m done and finished?

No, it can’t be the end.

Maybe I need a direction to follow,

A new seed to plant.

Writing, Editing, And Watching Baseball

I love writing. But editing is not nearly as fun as baseballing. It’s happening. I’m making up words. If only I could be the next Shakespeare.

I spent the day writing and editing.

I spent the night watching baseball instead of working because procrastination is so much easier than being productive.

When I first started writing this post, I was trying to think of parallels between editing and baseball. I’m sure there are some, but my tired brain can’t think of one.

After writing most of an essay earlier in the day, my brain was ready to shut down. In a perfect world, I would have a lot more time to write and edit all my essays.

I don’t enjoy trying to write an entire paper in one session, which is why I prefer not to procrastinate until the last minute. More often than not, I give myself enough time. After all, I know myself as a writer better than anyone.

It helps that I write every day. I know what I’m capable of, I know how long I need. So I can plan out my mess of a life accordingly.

Editing is tricky though. Again, in a perfect world, I’d have all the hours I want for revisions. Some papers take longer, especially if I wrote an extremely terrible first draft. Besides, the more words I’ve written, the more time it’ll take to make them better.

I know this isn’t the best idea, but occasionally I write and edit while watching baseball. When possible I mostly reserve such moments for shallow work such as typing up text messages or informal emails.

But I’m neither flawless, nor am I a saint.

I still haven’t thought of a parallel between editing and baseball. So much for that idea.

Whenever I need to edit, I want to write. Vice versa holds true too. Sadly, I want to do what I’m not doing.

Anyhow, I can’t wait to have a productive day tomorrow. I need to. Those papers won’t write or edit themselves.


A note from real time Herminia:

Obviously, I wrote this post and many others while there was still baseball on TV. But I realized that some of the sentiments I wrote a while ago are still relevant today. I figured now is as good of a time as any to publish this blast from the not so distant past. Fear not, more will come. I’m horribly behind with blogging and horrible at catching up. Thanks for understanding.